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The Resource Center for Separating & Divorcing Families

Executive Committee

executive committee

Martin Katz

Martin Katz

Professor Katz is dean of the University of Denver's Sturm College of Law. His specialty areas include antidiscrimination law, both within constitutional law and employment law.

His work on antidiscrimination law has been published in the Georgetown Law Journal, the Notre Dame Law Review, the Indiana Law Journal, the Hastings Law Journal, and the Yale Law Journal. His work on separation of powers has been published in Constitutional Commentary, a peer-reviewed journal.

He has lectured extensively on antidiscrimination law, free speech and religion, separation of powers, defamation, and employment-related intellectual property law. He also has made numerous media appearances.

Before teaching full time, Katz was a partner in the employment law group at Davis, Graham & Stubbs, and a law clerk to David M. Ebel on the U.S. Court of Appeals. In his spare time, he flies search and rescue missions for the Civil Air Patrol.

Rebecca Kourlis

Rebecca Love Kourlis

Rebecca Love Kourlis served Colorado's judiciary for nearly two decades, first as a trial court judge and then as a justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. She resigned from the Supreme Court in January 2006 to establish the IAALS, where she serves as executive director.

IAALS is a national, independent research center dedicated to continuous improvement of the process and culture of the civil justice system. By leveraging a unique blend of empirical and legal research, innovative solutions, broad-based collaboration, communications, and ongoing measurement in strategically selected, high-impact areas, IAALS empowers others with the knowledge, models, and will to advance a more accessible, efficient, and accountable civil justice system.

Kourlis began her career with the law firm of Davis Graham & Stubbs. She then started a small practice in northwest Colorado, where she developed an expertise in natural resources, water, public lands, oil and gas, and mineral law.

In 1987, Kourlis was appointed as a trial court judge with a general jurisdiction docket. She served as water judge and later as chief judge of the district. In 1994, Kourlis returned to Denver and worked as an arbitrator and mediator for the Judicial Arbiter Group.

She was appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court in 1995. While on the court, in addition to her adjunctive responsibilities, Kourlis spearheaded jury reform, reorganization of the attorney regulation system, and revision of family processes impacting children and families.

Justice Kourlis accepted the 2007 Legal Reform Organization of the Year honor from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of IAALS. She has also received numerous individual honors, including the the American Bar Association (ABA) Justice Center's 2012 John Marshall Award, the ABA Judicial Division's 2009 Robert B. Yegge Award For Outstanding Contribution In The Field Of Judicial Administration, and the 2008 Regis College Civis Princeps citizenship award. Kourlis and her husband Tom have been named the 2010 Citizens of the West by the National Western Stock Show.

Kourlis earned a BA in English from Stanford University and a JD from Stanford University Law School. She is a Colorado native and daughter of former Gov. John A. Love.

Shelly Smith-Acuna

Shelly Smith-Acuna

Shelly Smith-Acuna is the dean and director of the Psy.D. program, and an associate professor at the University of Denver's Graduate School for Professional Psychology (GSPP). She has been with the GSSP for 19 years.

Smith-Acuna engages in a combination of teaching, administrative work and clinical work. In addition, she maintains a small private practice with an emphasis on couples, families, relationship issues, and gender issues.

James Williams

James Herbert Williams

Professor James Herbert Williams is dean of the Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW). Before his appointment at the GSSW in June 2007, he was foundation professor of youth and diversity at the School of Social Work in the College of Public Programs at Arizona State University.

His funded research includes grants from the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Danforth Foundation, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, and the Departments of Justice, Education, and Health and Human Services.

Among his publications, his research and scholarship have focused on K-12 academic performance, youth violence, delinquency prevention, adolescent substance use, race and gender differences, and mental health service needs and utilization patterns in urban schools. Dean Williams has also published widely in the area of health promotion and disease prevention among African-American women.


Executive committee Consultants

schepardAndrew Schepard

Andrew Schepard, J.D., M.A., is a Professor of Law and the Director of Children, Families and the Law at Hofstra University. He is the Editor in Chief of the Family Court Review, the interdisciplinary academic journal of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. Professor Schepard is the author if Children, Courts and Custody: Interdisciplinary Models for Divorcing Families (Cambridge University Press 2004) and has written numerous articles on families and children in the legal system. He is the Co-Chair of the Family Law Education Reform Project (FLER), Vice Chair of the Policy Committee of the American Bar Association's Youth at Risk Commission, and serves on New York State's Permanent Commission on Justice for Children. 

Professor Schepard was the Reporter for the Uniform Collaborative Law Act and the Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation. He founded and writes the Law and Children column of the New York Law Journal and has received awards form the American Bar Association, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and the International Association of Collaborative Professionals for his work, including the ABA ADR’s Section 2010 Lawyer as Problem Solver Award.

Professor Schepard received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he served as Articles Editor of the Harvard Law Review.

marshaMarsha Kline Pruett

Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., M.S.L., has been the Maconda Brown O'Conner Professor at Smith College's School of Social Work since 2006. Previously, she served as an Associate Professor in the Law and Psychiatry Division at the Yale University School of Medicine and the Yale Child Study Center. She is involved in curriculum development, intervention, consultation, and research programs regarding father involvement and co-parenting, parenting coordination, early childhood experiences and mental health outcomes, and provision of services in family courts. She also maintains a private practice, providing family mediation, parenting plan consultation, and collaborative divorce.

Dr. Klein Pruett has co-authored several books including Your Divorce Advisor: a Psychologist and Attorney Lead You Through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce (Fireside 2000) and Partnership Parenting (2009 Perseus). She is the guest editor of two special issues of the Family Court Review, "Separated and Unmarried fathers and the Courts" (2003) and "Overnights and Young Children" (2005). She is a Board Member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Court's, a member of the Massachusetts Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Shared Parenting and the MA Task Force on the Voice of the Child. She is also a recipient of the Association of Family and Conciliation Court's Stanley Cohen Award for Distinguished Research for her work on a model continuum of effective and cost efficient co-parenting services in the Connecticut courts and her research on father involvement and parenting plans for young children.